In magic and melancholia
The Bengal Classical Music Festival 2014 reached great heights on its third and fourth nights, with memorable performances and rich tributes to Qayyum Chowdhury – who graced the stage in his last minutes.
With a choral performance, titled “Kalyan”, students of Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay set off the third day's (November 29) event at Dhaka's Army stadium. Suchishree Ray composed the piece. Enamul Haque Omar and Goutam Sarker on tabla and Bizon Chandra Mistry and Talha Bin Ali on harmonium accompanied the performance. Sitar recital on raga Puriya Dhaneshree by Nishit Dey followed. Iftekhar Alam accompanied him on matta taal and drut teentaal.
Vocalist Manjusha Patil next performed an evening raga Chhayanaut. Sanjay Adhikari assisted the artiste's bandish “E Moti Malaniya” performance on jhumra taal, with Gourab Chatterjee was on harmonium. The artiste's teentaal bandish “Eri Malaniya Gund Lao Re” had striking aspects too -- including khatka, ascending-descending taan, sapat taan and jamjama taan. Manjusha later performed a Mishra Khamaj Thumri based on ada choutaal. “Sawarey Salune Bakey Shaam” were the words of the piece.
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma enthralled the audience reciting raga Charukesi while Pandit Yogesh Samsi embellished the performance on tabla. The maestro started off with a meditative alap that kept the classical music connoisseurs in rapture. The swindling proceedings of his gat on jhaptaal coupled with Pandit Yogesh Samsi's incredible accompaniment took the audience to the world of bliss. He also presented two other beautiful drut gat on addha taal and teentaal. Later, Shivkumar Sharma performed a mishra pahadi dhun, set on taal dadra. The chalan of some other sweet ragas blossomed in the performance and diffused the melodious aroma at night.
Asit Roy then presented a dhrupad based on raga Begeshree. Pt. Mohan Shyam Sharma accompanied the rendition on choutaal and drut jhap taal on his pakhawaj with vocal support from Alamgir Parvez.
The Dhaka audience witnessed once more the magic of Carnatic vocal with percussion by a mesmerising performance by Vidushi Aruna Sairam. The virtuoso vocalist began her musical flight rendering the Carnatic Raga Hindolam (the north Indian counterpart of Malkauns). The artiste's first rendition “Maa Bhawatushri Saraswati” was offered to the goddess of art Devi Saraswati followed by an immaculate sargam alap. Later, she performed a Swarup Dipendar Das composition “Raam Naam Payes Sakre”, a composition on raga Basant and a short composition based on raga Kadana Kutu Halam. The Carnatic legend later performed a short composition “Tala Yasoda Untana”, set on raga Todi. Surprising the Dhaka audience, Vidushi Sairam performed a Nazrul Sangeet “Amar Kalo Meye Raag Korechhe”, composed by legendary Kamol Dasgupta and ended up with an exquisite tillana titled “Kalia Mardan”. Raghavendra Rao on violin, Sai Giridhar on mridangam and S V Ramani on ghatam accompanied the performance.
Mellifluous sweetness was in the air as sitarist Pandit Kushal Das next recited Raga Parameshwari, a raga created by Pandit Ravi Shankar. The serenity of dawn mingled with the dew-drops with his decorative alap and gat of the raga. Pandit Yogesh Samsi proved his musical prowess again and again, in a fabulous accompaniment performance.
Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar wrapped up the third night's presentations, offering a sublime Raga Lalit. The vilambit bandish “Bhor Hi Aaye Jogi Tum Alakh Jagao” and drut bandish “Bhawan Dayar Da Jobana” (both on teentaal) performances were followed by a tarana “Dani Odani Dim Dim Tana”. The special features of his rendition style incorporated bahelawa, outstanding pukar, charming murki, gamak, bolbistar, variety of rhythmic and rounded up aakar taan and speedy jamjama taan. Later, he presented two beautiful morning ragas – a drut kheyal on raga Deshkar and a famous Bhairavi thumri “Jamuna Ke Teer”. Tabla maestro Pandit Yogesh Samsi accompanied the evocative rendition, in his third performance of the night.
Melancholia reigned supreme at the penultimate night of Bengal Classical Music Festival, through the demise of eminent artist Qayyum Chowdhury. The avid connoisseur and collector of Hindustani Classical Music passed away at Combined Military Hospital following a massive heart attack at the end of his speech during the inaugural session.
It was a night of musical magic and creation of history in the realm of Indian Classical Music. An unprecedented turnout of music lovers – announced by organisers as 55,000-plus, experienced a celebration of immortality, passion and creativity.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia was euphoric on his recital of Raga Ahir Bhairav. The master of flute started off with an extremely sweet alap, set on the raga. He handed over pieces of Ahir Bhairav amongst the ardent music lovers as a token of his love and blessings.
Rounds of joyous applause swayed among the audience as Pandit Chaurasia styled the phraseology of Kirttan. He evoked the mythical essence of Radha-Krishna in the blissful ambiance of Brindaban. The living legend ended up his part with a masterfully demonstrative presentation of Raga Bhairavi, creating some rare musical phraseology with the notes of Bhairavi that beckoned the connotations of several other ragas.
Pandit Yogesh Samsi on tabla and Pandit Bhawani Shankar on pakhawaj produced torrents of beats with beautiful tehai while accompanying the maestro. In the Kirttan part, the marvel of tehai mingled with magic of taal dadra. The maestro's disciple Vivek Sonar gave him fantastic support on flute.
Musical gravity centred on Dhaka's Army Stadium as the music of the two hemispheres of Indian Classical Music – Hindustani (North Indian) and Carnatic (South Indian) met in Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar's sarod and Pandit Ganesh Rajagopalan's violin. Pandit Yogesh Samsi on tabla and Ravishankar Bhadrachar on mridangam emptied out all their rhythmic charisma during the blitzkrieg musical session blossoming Raga Malkauns (called Raga Hindolam in Carnatic music). Later, they performed Raga Charukesi and a Bhatiali dhun as tribute to Pallikabi Jasimuddin. An inspired Bangladeshi audience thoroughly enjoyed the solo parts, jugalbandi and sawal-jawab.
Vidushi Kaushiki Chakrabarty appeared on stage like an angel to diffuse the aroma of romantic melancholia through her rendition of raga Bageshree. Gripping the mood of the raga, she set off her performance with the famous vilambit bandish “Kaun Gata Bhaili” on ektaal, followed by a drut bandish and a tarana on teentaal. Special features of her rendition covered emotional vistar, exquisite pukar and speedy aakar taan. Later, she presented “Sajanwa Kab Aaoge”, a thumri on Pilu -- and famous dadra “Rangeen Sari Gulabi Chunariya”, on Pahadi.
But it was the Bangladeshi artistes who took the stage first: Amit Chowdhury put up a disciplined display of Bharatanatyam, presenting Natesha Kauthuvam, Natanam Adinar, and a Nattevangam Geetam, followed by a Tillana. He was followed by tabla artiste Swarup Hossain presenting uthan, chakradar and rela on various compositions of teentaal.
Next, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayan Ali Khan – sons of legendary sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan took the stage to stir up melodic whirlwinds on their sarod; first on the traditional folk Raga Jhinjhoti on nine and a half beats, then on Raga Rageshree on teentaal and in closing, with a heart-touching Bhatiali dhun.
Sameehan Kashalkar, son of Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar then came on stage and dedicated his recital to Qayyum Chowdhury. He presented an appealing raga – Malkauns, with his style reminiscent of his father and Guru, as did his choice of raga. His rendition of raga Sohini and Malkauns generated a sincere plea to the creator.